• A Labour Party group with links to Keir Starmer is being investigated for failing to declare financial backers

    Labour Party leader Keir Starmer
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    EXCLUSIVE: Labour Together is under investigation by the Electoral Commission for alleged breaches of electoral law.
    The group allegedly failed to declare hundreds of thousands of pounds of donations within the time required by law.
    The group is led by senior figures in Keir Starmer’s Labour party, including the Shadow Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy.
    Its former managing director is now Starmer’s chief of staff.
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    An influential Labour Party group with close links to Keir Starmer is under investigation by the UK’s Electoral Commission after allegedly failing to declare over £800,000 in donations within the time required under law, Insider can reveal.
    The investigation into Labour Together, which counts among its current directors’ the Shadow Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy MP and Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Steve Reed MP, was opened in December 2020.
    The Electoral Commission, which regulates political financing in the United Kingdom, is investigating multiple potential breaches of UK electoral law which requires donations to be reported to the Electoral Commission within 30 days of the donation being accepted.
    An analysis of the figures published by the Electoral Commission shows only a small minority of donations received by Labour Together – £165,000 of the £970,492 donated – had been declared within the 30 day period, from its first donation in October 2015 to its most recent donation in January 2021.
    The Electoral Commission is also investigating a potential failure to register a responsible person within 30 days of accepting a reportable donation.
    Both of these potential failures would be breaches of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000.
    Figures published on the Electoral Commission website in February 2021 show 10 donations for a total of £298,992. Only one of these donations, worth £50,000, is shown to have been received by Labour Together within 30 days of it being reported. The rest range from between June 2017 and April 2019.
    Figures published by the Electoral Commission in December 2020 show 19 donations for a total of £465,500. None of these donations appear to have been received in the 30 days prior to their reported date of 10th December 2020. They range from June 2018 to September 2020.
    The December 2020 report was the first report of donations made by Labour Together since July 2018. A November 2017 report of donations included sums given in June and August 2017 totalling £46,000, while a £45,000 donation in June 2016 was not reported until August 2016.
    Labour Together’s most significant donor to date is Martin Taylor, who was revealed in 2015 to be a Mayfair hedge fund manager having then given £600,000 to the party under the leadership of Ed Miliband. Taylor has given the group over £700,000. £143,992 of Taylor’s donations were reported as being "non-cash".
    Another significant donor is the businessman Sir Trevor Chinn, who also donated £50,000 to Keir Starmer’s leadership campaign in 2020.
    Chinn serves as the fourth director of Labour Together along with the Labour MP Jon Cruddas. Chinn has given the group £225,500.
    There is no suggestion of wrongdoing by any of the donors.
    ‘The blueprint for Starmerism’

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    Labour Together has become a highly influential group under Starmer’s leadership of the party.
    A former managing director of Labour Together is Morgan McSweeney, who is now Sir Keir Starmer’s chief of staff. Companies House records for the company behind Labour Together show McSweeney was secretary from July 2017 to April 2020, when Starmer became leader of the Labour Party.
    The group also conducted a high-profile review into the party’s performance in the 2019 general election was published in June 2020 which was described by the New Statesman as "a blueprint for Starmerism".
    Susan Hawley, Executive Director of Spotlight on Corruption, told Insider: "Full and timely transparency in electoral funding and donations by all parties is critical to trust in elections and in politicians.
    "Pending the Commission’s outcome, these kinds of investigations should be a wake-up call to all parties to work together to strengthen the Electoral Commission’s mandate and powers, and to clean up political finance."
    An Electoral Commission spokesperson told Insider: "The donations to Labour Together published this week were reported to us as part of an on-going investigation into the members association.
    "Labour Together is currently under investigation for potentially failing to deliver donations reports within 30 days of accepting reportable donations, and for potentially failing to register a responsible person within 30 days of accepting a reportable donation. The outcome of the investigation will be published on our website when it has concluded."
    Insider contacted Labour Together for comment but did not receive a statement by the time of publication.
    Read the original article on Business Insider

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